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Welcome To The Leadership Tavern...

where great leaders come together to share ideas over a drink. So grab a seat and let's talk leadership.

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I just had the opportunity to attend an event in Dallas for Army Reservist who have recently returned from the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq. Focused on returning soldiers and their families, the event brought together Veteran Service Organizations, educational institutions, counseling professionals, and other army reserve leaders. I've got to say this was one of the best periods of "mandatory fun" I've had the chance to participate in! The consistent message was, we've brought all these people here to help you….TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!! Our leaders truly want to take care of their Soldiers.

I was particularly impressed by two of the organizations:

VETS4VETS (www.vets4vets.us): This group of concerned Iraq and Afghanistan veterans provide outreach and group counseling for other OIF/OEF Veterans.

Veterans Administration (www.va.gov): I think everyone has heard of the VA. This government agency works with veterans on medical, education, job training, home ownership, and about a hundred other things. Probably one of the best programs introduced over the last few years is the Post-9/11 GI Bill (www.gibill.va.gov). It provides for tuition, an annual book stipend, and living expenses. The best thing about this program is it is transferable to dependents!

The VA also provides medical care for veterans after they've left the service. As with any government agency, there are certain conditions that must be met for the treatments to qualify. Take a look at the VA's website for more information.

I'd like to open the floor. I've given an example of our Army Reserve leaders taking care of redeploying Soldiers. Do you have an example of a particularly caring leader? How do you take care of your team? Is it possible to be too caring?

Hope to hear from everyone. Make it a great day!

Categories: Leadership

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Take a second and close your eyes. Imagine the best unit, team, company, or friendship you've ever participated in. How did you feel about this team?

I've started thinking about this a lot recently. I'm not really sure why, but it just popped above the waterline. I've been thinking about the people on those teams and what made them great; the mission we had and how we all focused on accomplishing it; and the leadership of that team. I expect that some of my friends may get a bit excited about me not singling out the team we were on together. For that, I'm sorry. I've been on a lot of great teams. This was just a once in a life time occurrence. Like Halley's Comet, the alignment of the planets, or finding King Tut's tomb.

My best team was the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry, Manchus from June 2000 to 2002. For us, the planets did align, we had a Brigade Commander like no other: fair, sense of humor, deep desire to develop commanders and staff, and a passion for soldiers and soldiering. We also had a Battalion Commander who was focused on the mission and developing us as Commanders and Soldiers. Most importantly he had was the ability to communicate to all levels of the command. He is a person who was as comfortable briefing our Commanding General as he was talking to a Soldier in the motor pool under a Bradley. Lieutenant Colonel (now Colonel and retired) Jones had an amazing ability to connect with people. Many of us emulated his ability to focus the unit through very precise language and specific instructions when necessary. Because he communicated so effectively we were able to understand what we needed to do and where the unit was heading.

I can think of dozens of effective communicators, Presidents Lincoln, Reagan, Clinton, Obama; General David Petraeus. These are just a few from the national stage. Think about your community or company. Do you have team members who can effectively communicate? What do these people have in common? Are they selective in when they contribute and what they contribute?

I'd like to open the conversation on communication there….How do we improve communication? What are the key elements of communication? Is there such a thing as too much communication?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts…grab a pint and let's talk.

Categories: uncategorized

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Welcome! I hope this is the first of many posts and discussions concerning a topic of great interest and debate: LEADERSHIP. Many questions come to mind: Can people learn leadership? How does a person become a better leader? What skills and talents do leaders require? What is the difference between a leader and manager? Can a person be an effective leader but not manager, and vice-versa?

These questions and a shared passion for helping give leaders the right tools gave birth to an idea. Several friends and I started to talk about our best discussions on leadership and we noticed a common thread between our best discussions…We found that at the end of a long day, or after a particularly difficult training exercise, we would gather with peers at a local bar or restaurant and discuss our unit's particular successes and challenges. Each of us found these discussions very thought provoking. These tended to be the best leadership conversations: better than any classroom, better than any officer professional development lecture, and better than just listening to a talking head on an instructional video. We shared our experiences because we knew this would make our entire battalion, brigade, and division better. Thus, we chose "The Leadership Tavern" as our gathering place; a place for leaders of all industries, sectors, and experiences to gather to discuss their personal leadership challenges and successes.

Disclaimer: None of the people contributing to this website claim to be the all knowing oracle of leadership. Our intent is to inspire a deeper and wider conversation about leadership. We want to help you solve your leadership challenges through a community approach. A community focused on sharing personal experiences. The contributors will represent a broad range of experience: military and civilian, small business and large, single and multiple unit, as well as family owned and publicly traded.

The initial focus will be on two areas: a community designed as an area for open dialogue, and a series of interviews with leaders. Later, we will introduce new sections: "Leader of the Week" nominations and awards, a section on mentors, and reviews of a few great books on leadership. In the coming weeks and months, this website will also have a new look. You will be able to find us here (www.leadershiptavern.wordpress.com) and through our primary website at www.leadershiptavern.com.

I'm looking forward to the writing getting more interesting and easier to read as well. Thanks and make it a great day.

PS…If any of you are interested in contributing, I'd love the help.

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The Leadership Tavern was created by Major Fred Hockett to get leaders together to share ideas.
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